Google: 180-Degree Video Is the Future of VR
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Eyeing a 360-degree camera to create videos that you can watch with a virtual reality headset? You might want to keep your finger off the "buy now" button, because Google on Thursday announced an effort to make 180-degree videos the VR standard instead.
Google said that it will foster a new video standard, called VR180, aimed at making it easier for professionals to film VR videos using a normal camera instead of one designed specifically for 360-degree shooting. Consumers will get a chance to try it out too, with manufacturers like YI, Lenovo and LG planning VR180-compatible cameras that "will be as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras, for around the same price," according to Google VR Product Manager Frank Rodriguez.
You can start out watching a VR180 video on your computer or mobile device much like you would any other video, Rodriguez wrote in a blog post, which means no maneuvering with your mouse is required to see the full shot. Instead, you watch the video as the director intended it to be viewed, as you might do with a normal movie or TV show. There are already some examples of VR180 videos on YouTube, and they'll also include a VR component when you don a headset.
"They transition seamlessly to a VR experience when viewed with Cardboard, Daydream and PSVR, which allow you to view the images stereoscopically in 3D, where near things look near, and far things appear far," Rodriguez explained.
Google said the first VR180-compatible consumer cameras should go on sale this winter. You can sign up for updates directly with Google, or with Chinese camera manufacturer Yi, which is designing a new 3D stereoscopic camera with VR180 support.